MANILA – Tokyo Metro Co. has begun helping train railway personnel in the Philippines as part of bilateral government efforts to develop urban rail networks in the country, according to the subway operator. The three Japanese firms are responsible for drawing up personnel training schemes and programs as well as nurturing skilled local instructors through June 2023, aiming to enable locals to smoothly operate and maintain city railroad networks, Tokyo Metro said. Tokyo Metro "intends to provide a wide range of support to build a safe and convenient city railroad system," a spokesman told NNA. Japan's development aid agency has discussed setting up a governmental training institute designed to boost local expertise and skills with the Philippine government such as train operations, railway building and wiring technologies, according to JICA.
Gov. Kotaro Nagasaki, who was elected in January, said he will set up a panel of experts, possibly in late June, to study the details of the plan including the route and also its impact on the economy and environment. Railway plans on the 3,776-meter volcanic mountain emerged in the past but never materialized, partly due to concerns about the potential environmental impact caused by construction. At present, visitors can only get to the fifth station by bus or private car. "I pledged to build a railway on Mount Fuji during the election campaign (in January) and the idea won wide public support," Nagasaki said after a meeting on the plan was held in Tokyo. "I will do my best to carry out my promise."
Kyushu Railway Co. shares have climbed in the gray market before the company's debut next week, people familiar with the matter said. The rail operator changed hands at 2,800 and 2,850 a share on Tuesday, a gain of as much as 9.6 percent compared with its initial public offering price of 2,600 set Monday, the traders said, asking not to be identified because of company policy. The Fukuoka-based firm, known as JR Kyushu, starts trading on the Tokyo Stock Exchange next Tuesday after an IPO set to raise 416 billion. JR Kyushu, the world's third-largest IPO so far this year, is part of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's efforts to encourage citizens to invest some of their 1,700 trillion household savings in the stock market. Shares of Line Corp., Japan's second-largest IPO in 2016, also jumped in the gray market before starting trading on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, where they closed up 32 percent on their first day.
Cases of train service disruptions have substantially increased in Japan over the past 30 years, transport ministry data shows. On Monday a power failure paralyzed services on sections of the Chuo and Sobu lines, operated by East Japan Railway Co. (JR East), in the Tokyo area during morning rush hour. The incident lead to cancellations of 177 trains and delays of 91 trains, with the number of affected travelers reaching about 280,000. The incident also forced a delay in the start of the day's entrance examinations at some universities. In fiscal 2017, which ended in March 2018, the number of cases of train service disruptions such as cancellations and delays of 30 minutes or longer rose by 603 from fiscal 2016 to reach 5,934 -- about 3.2 times more than the fiscal 1988 level of 1,883, according to the ministry data.